Below, a collection of the five postings on Mantra Pushpam by 
Shriman V. Sadagopan in the Bhakti List during Navaratri of 1996  (October, 96).

 Please click on  to listen to chanting of Mantra Pushpam

(See NOTE at the end suggesting that interpreting  the word aapah as referring to Brahman might make Mantra Pushpam more meaningful.).


Dear Members of the Prapatti Group, 

Here is a quick introduction to  the MP,  which is part of the Surya Namaskara Prasnam  section of The Taittiriya Aranyakam. This  Prasnam( Vedic Lesson ) as I indicated in an earlier posting is  also known as Arunopanishad  by Sri Vidya Worshippers. 

There are 32 Anuvakas (Sections) in the Surya Namaskara Prasnam. The number of Panchasats (Individual Mantras)  in this Prasnam add up to 130 . The eight Anuvaka is  a prelude to the Mantra Pushpam that is housed in the  22nd Anuvakam.   

The  Anuvakams preceding  the eigth deal with the measures of time. The eigth Anuvakam starts off by stating that all of the  units of "Time" enter into "water" ,which inturn  enters into Agni , which ultimately  merges with the energy of Surya. Eight forms of Agnis are then  described.  

In the 22nd anuvaka dealing with mantra pushpam, "water" is recognized as the most fundamental of "elements". The relationship between "water"  and moon , agni, surya , vayu and stars is described and saluted. At the end of this anuvaka, the reciter visualizes the entire world as floating in the immensity of  "water" .the mantra pushpam riks are linked with the mosrt sacred aruna ketukam ritual. 

There are 12 panchasata(individual mantra/riks) in the 22nd anuvakam .  I  will attempt to trnslate  these mantras later. 

Veda purushaaya nama:


Mantra Pushpam -- Part 2

V. Sadagopan   16 Oct 96 


Dear Sri Vijay Srinivasan and fellow members of the Prapatthi/Bhakthi group :

It gives me great pleasure to attempt a translation of  the majestic and marvellous mantras of Mantra Pushpam . The effort to translate this extraordinary conception of  the centrality of "Aapaa: " is   equivalent to describing the  wind-blown fragrance of a divine flower.May this meager attempt be blessed by the Veda Purushan invoked by the  Rks of Purusha ,NarayaNa and VishNu Sookthams !

An introduction to Manra Pushpam was covered in the earlier posting ( May 14, 1996 ). Sri Vijay Srinivasan kindlly recovered that for me and forwarded it .For the sake of continuity , I will summarize what I referred to in that posting and   add a few more points here to serve as a prelude to  the observations onnthe individual rks of Mantra Pushpam ..


The mantras of Mantra Pushpam are part of the Surya Namaskara Prasnam (SNP) of the Taittiriya Aaranyakam . There are 32 anuvaakaas  (sections ) in Surya Namaskara Prasnam. The eighth anuvaakam  is a prelude to the concepts enshrined in the text of Mantra Pushpam that we find as the twenty second anuvaakam of SNP . The twenty  ninth anuvaakam of Maha NarayanOpanishad  of  KrishNa Yajur Vedam is another excellent reference  to the subject matter of Mantra Pushpam .   

The anuvaakams preceding the eighth of SNP deal with the  measures of TIME . The eighth  anuvaakam starts off by staing  that all of the units of TIME enter in to WATER , which in turn  enters into AGNI , which ultimately merges with the energy of Surya Murthy at whose center is Sriman Narayana . The eight forms of Agni merging as one with Surya Murthy is also covered  in this anuvaakam .

The 22nd anuvaakam celebrated in Bhagavad AarAdhanam  daily deals with WATER as the most fundamental of " ELEMENTS ". The relationship between WATER and MOON , AGNI , SURYA , VAYU , STARS and TIME are described and celebrated here .  The  Mantra Drishtaa visulaizes the entire world as floating in the immensity of WATER . The Mantra Pushpa Rks are linked with the  most sacred AruNa Kehukam rites . There are 12 panchasats ( individual mantrAs) in this anuvAkam .

Mahaa NaarayaNOpanishad : Twenty Ninth Anuvaakam

The above anuvaakam summarizes the thoughts that are  elaborated in the Mantra Pushpam . Hence we will study this anuvaakam first . The text of the AnuvAkam is as follows :

aapOHO vaa idhagum sarvam viswaa bhuthaanyApa: prANaa
vaa aapa: pasava aapOannamApOamrutamApa ; samradApO
viradApa: svarAdApaschandhAgum syApO jyothigumshApO  
yajugumshyApa: satyamApa: sarvA devathA aapO bhur bhuva: suvarApa Om II

Swami Vimalanndha's excellent translation following  that of SayanA and BhattabhAskara is provided below :

" Verily all this is water. All the created beings are water .the vital breaths in the body are water. Quadrupeds are water. Edible crops are water. Ambrosia is water. Samraat is water. Viraat is water. Svaraat is water. The metres are water. The luminaries are water. Vedic formulas are water. Truth is water. All deities are water. The three worlds denoted by bhuh: bhuvaha: and suvaha : are water. The source of all these is the supreme denoted by the syllable OM ." 

Swami Vimalanda points out here  that the Para Brahman is eulogized as WATER  aapa: (See NOTE at the end).

His resplendent and multifaceted effulgence is  referred to in this rk  as Samraat (perpetually shining), Viraat (manifoldly shining) and Svaraat (self-luminous)  according to Bhattabhaskara . 

Sayana intreprets Saamrat as " SuthrAtmA HiraNyagarbha:" . Viraat as the "BrahmANda dEha Purusha :" visualized  by the Purusha Sooktham . . Svaraat is intreprepreted  by Sayana as " avyAkruthAbhimAni Iswara: ". Sayana  concludes with a reference to the  revelatory statement   of this rk as " apAm mula KaaraNam PraNava Prathipadhyam Brahmaiva " . The source of all these (described in this rk such as vital breaths, the three worlds et al ) is the Supreme , denoted by the syllable OM . This then is an apt introduction to the thoughts elaborated in the Mantra Pushpam rks.

Sequel to Mantra Pushpam: the 7th anuvAkam of SNP

Mantra Pushpam -- Part 3

V. Sadagopan   19 Oct 96 


In the previous section associated with MahAnarAyNOPanishad , we were instructed that the source of the  water principle is  the syllable OM denoting the self luminous Purusha . Another  passage of MahAnArayaNOpanishad explains further how  Parama Purusha created the Water and for what purpose and  how water serves as the central principle . That portion of the Upanishad  is as follows :


Here the ancient Vedic teaching pertaining to the Parama Purusha being the source and support  of all the principles and objects of the Universe is revealed . This passage states that the Smallest unit of time (NImesha/time talen to wink one's eyes ) to the largest (Samvatsara /an Year ) were born from this self luminous Purusha . None of the units of time are thus  permanent or independent. Then the Upanishad goes on to state that He milked water (Aapa: ) and the other two (viz).,  the firmament(Anthariksham ) and the heaven (suva: ) .  The purpose of His milking these triad implies that they were generated by the Purusha for " the sustenance and enjoyment of  the transmigrating souls through the agency of time on the earth  and in the firmament and in heaven ." 

With the introduction provided by the above mantram of the upanishad, we can now focus on the 8 th anuvaakam of the Surya Namaskara Prasnam (SNP) serving as a sequel to the Mantra Pushpam  passages housed in the 22nd Anuvaakam of the SNP . The relevant passage of the  8th anuvaakam starts off asking the following questions :

Where does this cloud enter and rest ? Where does the assembly of  time known as the year(Samvarsaram ) reach laya ? Where does the day  find its resting place ? O Lord ! what about the night ? Where do the months ,  pakshas(half months ) , muhurthaas and Nimeshaas seek as the place of  merging ? Where do the sources of water go , when the ponds and rivers dry up ?  What is the power principle behind these phenomena ?  Now the Upanishad answers the above questions and states that time and its units enter  the water principle. Latter in turn enter and merge with the Lord  known as Surya NaarayaNan. That powerful and universal controller  absorbs the water and the time that is embedded in it and in the next cycle generates them again . This revelation provides the sequel  to the relationships described in detail by the different manthraas  of the Mantra Pushpam that we use every day in Bhagavad AarAdhanams.


The recitation of the Mantra Pushpam has a majestic and  sonorous effect that is almost mesmerizing . There are 12  mantras in the Mantra Pushpam housed in the 22nd Anuvaakam.. The first set includes the panchaasats( individual mantrams) 78 to 84. The second set covers the two panchaasats from 85 to 86 .  The second section is connected to the yagam known as  AaruNa Kethuka sayanam (AKS ). The third and  final section consists of three mantras from 87 to 89and is also associated  with the AKS . We shall attempt to understand the meanings of  the three sections .

The mantras of the first section ( Rks 78-84) instruct us that  Water is the aadhaaram ( base or supporting principle) and  Aadheyam (containing principle ) for all units of time and  created beings as well as vital breaths, edible crops, truth and Vedic meters as indicated by the twenty ninth anuvaakam of Maha NarayaNOpanishad. These Rks declare that the person who meditates on Jalam or Aapa: as Sarva Devathaa Svarupam is bound to gain all auspicious fruits . Such a decalration finds its  echo in the Sandhyaa Vandana Mantram starting with :


(Meaning ) : " O waters , verily You are bliss-conferring. being such, grant us food , and great and beautiful insight (of the Supreme Truth ) . Further make us in this very life  participants of that joy of Yours , which is most auspicious , just like fond mothers (who nurse their darlings with nourishment).  May we  attain to that satisfactory abode of Yours , which You are  pleased to grant us . Generate for us also the waters of life and  pleasures on earth (during our sojourn here ) ."

The aboveTaittiriy Samhita rk captures the spirit of the elevation of Aapa: as the Sarva Deva Svarupa principle known as Jalaabhimaani Devathaa. For the Jnanis, water is not the thirst quenching and body cleansing  element , but has divinity implicit in it.      

Mantra Pushpam -- Part 4

V. Sadagopan  20 Oct 96 



yOapAm pushpam veda I pushpavAn prajAvAn 
bavathi I chandramA vaa apAm pushpam I 
pushpavAn prajAvAn pasumAn bavathi I
ya yevam veda I yOpAmAyathanam veda I
aayathanavAn bavathi I agnirvaa apaamaayathanam I
aayathanavAn bavathi I yOagnerAyathanam veda II

Here the two way relationship between the Moon and  Waters (Aapa: ) is explored .  The mantram states : " One who understands the nature of the flower of  the waters becomes blessed with flowers , good  progeny , abundunant cows and  cattle . Moon is  indeed the flower of waters (Chandramaa vaa apAm pushpam) . "

Here the reference is to the birth of the Moon , when the  "waters" of the milky ocean were churned by BhagavAn. The moon rose like a lotus flower from those waters.  Hence the Moon's originating place, abode , base is  the waters . Therefore Aapa: is the Aayathanam (the abode) for the Moon. Water has another relationship to the Moon. It arises from the cool rays of the Moon. Hence , the Moon  serves as the Aayathanam for the waters. The Rk therefore  declares " ChandramA vaa ApaamAyathanamI aapO vai Chandramasa Aayathanam ". Thus Water is the Aadharam and  Aadheyam for the Moon.  

The relationship betwen the Moon , Heavens, firmament and waters and their directing force PraNava svarupi , the Supreme Purusha of  Purusha Suktham has been alluded to in the earlier section. Many other Vedic passages dwell on this important relationship. For example, Yajur Veda manthram ( XXIII--59& 60 ) asks a question on this subject The question is : 

"Who knoweth the paramount Lord of this World ? Who knoweth the heven , the earth and the wide  space between them ? Who knoweth the creator of the mighty Sun ?  Who knoweth the Moon , and whence she was generated ? 

The answer in the next mantram is :


" O Questioner ! I know the paramount Lord of this  World. I know the Heaven, the earth and the wide space between them . I know the efficient and physical cause of the mighty Sun . I know the Moon and her creator ." 

In another mantram (Yajur Vedam VII-- 16 ) , the relationship  between the Moon and the waters, the subject of the first  panchasat of Mantra Pushpam is hinted . Veda Purusha  declares " -- I fix in its orbit , in the midst of spacious regions ,  this beautiful Moon  that covers the luninous stars , and is linked  with the Sun  and the Waters that it attracts .---". 

Two Saamans from Sama Veda pay homage to  the interdependence between the Purusha and the  created entities such as Water, Air, Agni , Sun , Earth, Heaven and firmament .The firsyt is from Aranya KhAnda ( Decade V-3 ) . This is the  famous mantram :


" God is wonderful and powerful amongst all the forces of nature and learned persons . He is the manifestor of air, water and fire. He pervades the Sun , Earth and atmosphere.  He is the creator and sustainer of all that moveth and  moveth not ." The realtion between Aapa: , Agni , Vaayu , Sun, Moon , Stars and Time and Purusha , the subject matter of the  mantrams of Mantra Pushpam , is covered here.

Yet another (Uttaraarchika) Saman talks specifically  about the relationship between Aapa: and the blessings arising from the true understanding of the Sarva Devatha  Svarupam of the waters . That Saman is the 1839th Saman:


" O Waters , for the removal of which impurity ye impel us , for the removal of the same we speedily go unto ye . Give us children , who mkae the right use of water." The suggestion is that those , who use the water correctly and understand its significance would become " PushpavAn, PrajAvAn and  PasumAn ."   

One verse from Atharva Veda ( Anuvaka 5- hymn XX!-2 ) refers to the relation between the Agni and water and states :  " All fires that are in Water ( Vadavaanalam in the Ocean, lightning in Clouds, digestive fire found in humans, ripening fire found in herbsand plants ) -- may all these fires be put to proper use ".

The realtion between Agni and Water is the topic of the  firsy mantram of Mantra Pushpam ( Agnirvaa apaam aayathanam I aayathanavaan bavathi I yOagneraayathanam veda I ) ,  In the order of creation, Upanishad states "Agneraapa: ".  Agni thus the receptacle of Jalam . From Jalam , the fire under the ocean (Vadavaagni ) is produced. Hence as in the case of  Chandran , Agni also has a dual relation (Aadharam and Aadheyam ). 

In a similar vein , Vayu, Surya, Stars , Rain and Time have the dual  relationship to Aapa: . " Kaalaa Apsu Nivasanteh I  Aapaa Suryeh Samaahitaa: I   

The all encompassing nature of Aapa: in the spirit of Maha Narayana Upanishad Vakhyam ( AapOvaa Idagum Sarvam , Sarva Bhoothaanyaapa: -- Bhur bhuva  suvaraapa OM ) , the 84th panchasat  visualizes the entire Universe as a gigantic ship floating on the immensity  of Water . An Upaasaka , who understands the world as a ship moving steadily in the gigantic waters is recognized by the  84th panchasat as a Sthitha Prajnan . He understands the  cosmic relationship between the Water as a sarva Devathaa svarupi  entering into Purusha .


Mantra Pushpam --Part 5

V. Sadagopan   21 Oct 96



In the previous Panchasats ( 78  --84 ) ,  the Adhaara/Aadheya Relationship of Water  to the Moon , Agni , Vaayu , Sun , Constellations, Time/Year and  Rain were pointed out . The concluding  86 th Panchasat  pays homage to a person of  steadfast mind (Sthitha Prajnaa described in  Srimad Bhagavat  Gita ) , who is able through meditation to concieve the entire world in the form of a giant ship  consecrated and floating in the immensity of  all pervasive water . This Panchasat is as follows :

apsunaavam prathishtithaam veda I pratyeva Thistathi I

This mantram recognizes the evolved soul , who fully  understands the cosmic relationship of all that has been created in the way that Purusha Suktham describes and the  central relatonship of Water to the World and the Lord's  creations.  

The 85th and the 86th Panchasats take off from this lofty conception . They describe the mantras associated  with the performance of the Yajnam known as AaruNa Kethuka  Sayanam . The blessings that one receives from the performance  of that  yajnam is Surya Saayujyam .The meaning of  these mantras are : These worlds are rooted in Water. That is well known and pointed out by these mantras. The essence (rasam )  of Water is shining is manifested as white effulgence in the  orbit of the Sun. I collect the essence of the essence of the waters and offer it unto you in sacred vessels . Therefore , the world  is the distilled  essence of essences of waters. That essence of essence is established in Surya Mandalam . 

The word Rasam has a rich and powerful meaning in the Vedic context . The translation as essence is a minimal description.  This mantra is recited In Soma Yaga , when Soma Rasam is offered to the Devas for attaining the boon of Surya Saayujyam .

The 86  th mantram deals with the observances of te Yajnas like Agni Hothram , Darsa PurNa MAsam and Chaathurmaasya, where AaruNa Kethuka Sayanam is an essential part. The 86 th  mantram describes the steps for performing this yajna in the  proper way.

The last three mantras of the 22nd Anuvaakam of SNP deal with the Yajnas and Krathus that include AaruNa kethuka Sayana Agni and the presence or absence of Yupa Sthampam in  these sacrificial rites. They mention that the descendants of  the sage Chaandilya inquired about the fruits of AKS . The detailed  correlation between the worship of different Agnis associated with different Yajnaas is included . For example , the one who worships  the agni known as Saavithram would have the fruit of the Saakshaatkaaram of Surya Bhagavan. Vaayu appears before one , who worships the  Agni known as Naachiketam . 

The anuvaakam concludes with the revelation that one who worships the  Aruna kethuaka Agni will be blessed with all auspicousness in this  and the other worlds. "Mithunavaan Bavathi " is the actual words used by the last panchaasat. The reason for these abundant blessings  is given as the comprehension that Jalam is united inextricably with Agni. 

Thus ends the majestic Mantra Pushpa Anuvaakam.

Veda Purushaaya Nama:

Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan


Interpreting  the word aapah as referring to Brahman might make Mantra Pushpam more meaningful.

Earlier, it was stated: "Swami Vimalanda points out here that the Para Brahman is eulogized as WATER, aapa

In a recent posting dated 20th Oct. 2002 (reproduced below) in the Bhakti-List , Sri K. Sreekrishna Tatachar has suggested that understanding the word apAm as referring to the Lord (Brahman) might make MP more meaningful:

Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002
Subject: Re: Mantrapushpam

Dear Bhagavathas,

The meaning of the popular and uplifting Mantrapushpam from aruNa prashna of KYV araNyakam has always baffled me.  I have pondered over different books and talked to different  shrOtrIyAs, but unfortunately never got a satisfactory answer.  Finally, I resolved it for myself. If we translate apAm of yOpAm (yaH + aPam) as the Lord (Brahman) it makes lot of sense.

(Note: Sri Sadagopan in one of his MP commentaries has implied this meaning for aPam
In fact one of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam books also suggests LORD for apAm).

The best of anything or anyone is considered as flowering of a civilization. 
Thus, OapAm pushpam veda  pushpavAn prajAvAn bavathi  can be paraphrased as:  
one who realizes the pushpam (greatness, blessing or blosoming)  of Lord,
becomes pushpavAn (Great, blessed)  or blossoms.

yOpAmAyathanam veda aayathanavAn bavathi

One who realizes the sustaining power of the Lord becomes sustained.
(Compare Christian belief: If you realize Jesus died for your sins, you are saved).

Rest of MP also becomes readily very meaningful, because rain, Moon, years, fire, Sun 
are all outpourings (extension) of parabrahman.

We can very well see the water-lord comnnection in appa for father,  as well as Ap is respectful way of addressing people in the Hindi language.  Embodiment of water (thIrtha rUparu for elders in Kannada), thI-rtha sthalam for holy places.

K. Sreekrishna Tatachar